Abbotsford Coun. Brenda Falk has come under fire for a meme she shared on her Facebook page that some people believe compares current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany.

Abbotsford Coun. Brenda Falk has come under fire for a meme she shared on her Facebook page that some people believe compares current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany.

Abbotsford councillor’s post about Nazi Germany puts her in hot water

Some believe shared meme compares COVID-19 restrictions to Nazi Germany, Falk resigns from slate

Abbotsford Coun. Brenda Falk created controversy online again this week, but the questionable content she shared has raised issues about the lack of clarity in the city’s code of responsible conduct for council members.

On Tuesday morning (May 18), Falk shared a meme of German student and anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl. The image included text stating, “Since all this started, I have barely worn a swastika at all. Only when I have to, to shop, work, or make others more comfortable.”

Scholl was convicted of high treason after it was discovered that she had been found distributing anti-war leaflets at her university. She was executed by guillotine for her crimes in 1943.

Falk originally included “Wise words for us all” with the photo. She then later edited her comment to include more context, stating, “She lived a quiet and peaceful life of strong conviction and was willing to pay the ultimate price for her convictions. How many of us are willing to do the same for our faith.”

The post sparked anger online, with many believing that she was using the message as a way to compare today’s current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany. Others supported her for speaking out “in defence of freedom.”

Falk is a member of the “End the Lockdowns” caucus and recently stated that she believes current lockdowns and restrictions are worse than the COVID-19 virus.

RELATED: Lockdowns more harmful than COVID, claims Abbotsford councillor who’s on hospital board

When asked by media about which restrictions she disagreed with, she was unable to offer an answer. B.C. has had less severe restrictions than other provinces, but restaurants have been unable to offer indoor dining since March 29. Falk is the owner of Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro in Abbotsford.

The News attempted for several days to get comments from Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, and he responded with a statement on Thursday evening.

“I understand the post made on social media by Brenda Falk is upsetting to some people,” he stated in an email. “These were comments made on a personal Facebook account and not shared on behalf of the City of Abbotsford. In this particular circumstance, a person’s personal comments and views remain outside of the City’s Code of Responsible Conduct for Council Members. As a result, how a situation like this is addressed is ultimately up to the elected official in question and residents of Abbotsford through the municipal election process.”

Falk has a personal Facebook page and an official City of Abbotsford councillor Facebook page. The last post on her official city account occurred on June 30, 2020.

The City of Abbotsford Code of Responsible Conduct for Council Members, which was created in 2019, can be found at abbotsford.civicweb.net/document/55288.

A section of the policy states that examples of “unacceptable conduct” include “use of disrespectful, derogatory, demeaning, defamatory, discriminatory, intolerant or offensive language at any time, and on any communication platform, including social media as a representative of the City.”

On Falk’s personal Facebook page, she is identified as a councillor for the city of Abbotsford and also has the city of Abbotsford tagged as one of her employers.

The News asked Braun and the city for clarification on why personal Facebook accounts do not fall under the code of conduct, but they have not yet replied to The News.

A B.C. councillor did face a review in March after posting a sexist meme on his personal Facebook page.

North Cowichan’s Tek Manhas posted a photo of an old man holding a cigarette and can of beer saying, “When your woman is acting up, just tell her ‘less bitchen’ more kitchen. Women love it when you rhyme.”

RELATED: B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Manhas later apologized for posting the meme and deleted it. The review later determined that Manhas did not violate the code of conduct, and city staff concluded that his apology and removal of the post was sufficient.

Pouce Coupe, B.C. Mayor Lorraine Michetti also faced criticism after she shared posts that many felt were racist and anti-Semitic. She had made a comment online comparing gun owners to Holocaust victims and also posted photos of a garbage-strewn lawn on Facebook and stated, “Don’t want Pipeline’s (sic)? They want to protect our land. Yeah ok”.

Many believed this was a racist reference to Indigenous pipeline opponents.

RELATED: Rural B.C. mayor urged to resign after Facebook post against Indigenous people, pipelines

Michetti later apologized for her social media activity, but refused to step down from her role.

Earlier this month, Abbotsford school trustee Phil Anderson temporarily stepped down from his position after he faced criticism for sharing a photo comparing wearing a mask to slavery on his Facebook page.

RELATED: Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Anderson later deleted the post and apologized. He is now undergoing training to build a better understanding of the issues he posted about. Abbotsford board of education chair Stan Peterson stated they wanted to act swiftly.

“The Abbotsford board of education is fundamentally committed to providing a safe, equitable and inclusive environment for all our students, staff and families,” he said. “The board is strongly committed to anti-racism, and opposes hate in any form.”

Abbotsford School District communications manager Kayla Stuckart said the district does have an administrative procedure on social media, but it was Anderson’s decision to step down. Trustees are guided by their own policy – Board Policy 6 – Trustee Code of Conduct.

Falk also received backlash last summer when the Tanglebank Instagram account commented on a Black Lives Matter post by the Downtown Abbotsford Instagram account. Tanglebank stated that “All lives matter” and recommended that “people be treated the way you want to be treated and stop the BS.”

It was later revealed that it was Falk’s husband Arnold who made the comments. He was initially upset that his comments were deleted by Downtown Abbotsford, but then later apologized for his words.

Shortly after the controversy, a petition was launched calling for the resignation of Coun. Falk. The petition, which is still active, has collected 855 signatures.

It was announced Friday (May 21) that Falk offered her resignation May 12 from her role on the AbbotsfordFirst slate. She had been a member of the slate since 2014.

RELATED: Husband of Abbotsford Coun. Falk apologizes for ‘All Lives Matter’ comment

abbotsford

Just Posted

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

.
Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Most Read